EPA completes cleanup of man-made explosives at Highview home
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Louisville Metro Emergency Services announced Thursday that they’ve finished removing chemical and man-made explosives from 6213 Applegate Ln.
EPA Federal On-Scene Coordinator Chuck Berry said in a news briefing Thursday that since the dangerous materials have been removed, construction crews can work towards restoring the property.
He said road closures in the area will still be in effect until crews can break up the home’s concrete foundation, bring in soil to fill any holes and remove the wall of shipping containers built around the property.
“We're happy to turn this [property] back over to the neighbors and get their lives back to normal and get the city operating back as it's used to,” Berry said.
The cleanup ends a monthlong project to safely remove the materials and demolish the home. During the project, Berry said his team found over 100 chemicals in the home, many of which were man-made, explosive and hazardous materials.
“It is pretty common for us to deal with basement chemists,” Berry said. “We frequently deal with hoarding situations where chemicals are involved and often deal with explosives, but it's pretty rare and, in my experience, [it’s] certainly unique for me that here … we've dealt with all three of those at once at one site.”
The materials and debris were removed piece by piece and placed in a reaction box buried next to the property to safely dispose of the chemicals. Berry said the reaction boxes are being stored temporarily at a Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District facility where the air quality can be continually monitored.
Louisville Metro Police found man-made explosives, chemicals and debris in the home at 6213 Applegate Ln. in July 2023. The homeowner was arrested, and Louisville Metro officials planned an emergency controlled burn to demolish the home. Local residents and city attorneys expressed concern for the safety of the surrounding neighborhood, thus halting the motion. The EPA joined in August to assist the city in safely clearing the home.